Cullen M. Burke
Mr. Burke was born in New York City. In the 1960s, when Mr. Burke was a young boy, his father started opening businesses in Ocean City, Maryland. Originally these were seasonal businesses, operating only in the summer. Eventually, they became year-round operations, including retail stores, restaurants, and commercial real estate. Mr. Burke attended junior high and high school in the state of Florida. He obtained a degree in accounting from Florida State University, which has a well-respected business school. Mr. Burke's original plan was to go into the family business. His initial strategy was to obtain an accounting degree and a law degree in order to have a solid educational background for being a businessman. Mr. Burke attended the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. Purely by coincidence, Mercer University law school is also the headquarters for the National Criminal Defense College. The longtime dean of the highly-regarded National Criminal Defense College is Deryl Dantzler, a nationally recognized and highly regarded professor of trial methods. At the time Mr. Burke attended Mercer Law School, Ms. Dantzler was also the coach of the school' the mock trial team. All students at Mercer University are required to take a class known as Trial Practice where they perform mock examinations of witnesses and practice courtroom techniques. When Mr. Burke began this class, his instructor told him that he appeared to have a talent for trying cases. His professor encouraged him to try out for the mock trial team coached by Ms. Dantzler. Mr. Burke's trial practice professor arranged a tryout after which Mr. Burke was immediately placed on the team. This was an experience that changed his life permanently. He was able to try mock jury trials in competition against other law schools. At that time, he realized he had found his calling and decided to become a lawyer instead of a businessman.
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